TV Night

It started because of my father.
His way with words could soothe any heartache or cut me to my bones. His embrace could be
as comforting as a favorite blanket or as suffocating as a knee on a pillow.
Like many kids, I was an inquisitive child. I wanted to know all about this world. My father wasn’t
interested in teaching me anything other than how cruel people could be.
When my baby sister was born, I had something to live for. I had been a lonely child up to that
point in my life, but now I had a lifelong friend. She was pure, not knowing yet the hardships this
life had to offer. I needed to protect her from the cruelty. I would take the full force of our father’s
abuse, luring his attention to me when he started looking at my sister.
Eventually my sister and I got away from him when the state finally saw the abuse. The mental
damage was done though; I was disillusioned that anything was going to get better. I fell into a
dark place that no one was allowed to visit. I lashed out at people who tried to help, thinking that
no one has ever felt the way I did. I pushed my sister away; I believed I had done right by her by
giving her a fresh start, a loving home with new parents to mold her into a good person. She no
longer needed me. It was too late for me to change my outlook on life anyway; the damage had
already sunk into my bone marrow.
There’s one thing to know about my sister: she hates being told no. Not in a bratty way, but
rather in a “there’s nothing I can’t do” kind of way. She’s a born fighter. She saw me struggling
and had to do something about it. Being a kid, she didn’t know about medications or therapy,
but she did know I loved television. She would come into my room with her laptop and lay down
next to me with a new show she had found. I fought her efforts at first, I just wanted to stare at
the ceiling of my room until my organs gave up.
She was persistent though. After nights of me not giving an opinion on what to watch, she would
just put on whatever she wanted. I either had to pay attention or pretend she wasn’t in the room.
Eventually I had to start watching the shows with her. Sometimes they were cartoons or modern
teen dramas, other times we watched british comedies from the 1970’s. She had and still has an
eclectic taste for media. I found myself looking forward to each night with her, wanting to make it
through the day to spend time with her. That anticipation bled into my daily life, making me
curious to see what the day would bring. I found myself looking forward instead of retreating
back into my dark place.
Now that we’re adults, I still look forward to seeing my sister every week. I don’t struggle as hard
as I did as a teen with my past, but it’s not to say that I’ve beaten depression. I just know now
that I always have someone in my corner who has my back like I have hers. My advice to those
struggling with suicidal ideation is to find something to stay alive for. It can be a person, a pet, or
even a television show. There have definitely been times that I wanted to make it to next Friday
to see a storyline continue. Your storyline needs to continue too.

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